How far in advance of the holidays should I contact an eBay Trading Assistant to sell my stuff?

You have holiday related items that you’re looking to find someone to sell for you. Maybe it’s Christmas ornaments, collectible menorahs, holiday Barbies or pieces of a holiday village. You know they’ll sell better if you sell them around the holidays, but when’s the best time to contact someone to sell them for you?

The same logic seems to apply to big-ticket items. You have items that you are sure would be wonderful gifts and would sell best around the holiday season. When would you need to get them to your TA by?

If you are looking to contact someone to sell your holiday items for you, you need to contact them as soon as possible giving as much time before the holidays as you can. While every TA will have their own leadtime and backlog, for most, the latest time they could accept Christmas items is September or October. I personally prefer July or August.

When you contact the TA, the process isn’t instant. You’ll need to go over your items, write up an inventory of them, set up an appointment to meet with the TA, and then either schedule a pickup or drop-off. Even once all that is finished, the Trading Assistant has to clean, research, photograph, and list your items. That process alone can sometimes take several weeks, depending on your TA’s current workload, number of active clients, and the number of items you’ve given them. This is why, the sooner you get your TA your holiday related items, the better your chances that they’ll actually be able to be listed before the holidays.

In addition to the time the process takes, you need to factor in the shipping times that apply to online sales. While you may think five days before Christmas is plenty of time, understand that most shoppers are unwilling to place an order that close to Christmas in case it doesn’t arrive on time. Most items that are being bought for gifts are purchased much earlier online than they are in brick and mortar stores. As for decorations, the bulk of them are sold in November when most people are decorating their houses.

Unfortunately, most people have trouble thinking that far in advance. They only start to think about the holiday items they want to sell when the holidays are already upon them and by then it’s often too late. TA’s are operating a retail business and November and December often their busiest times of the year, they often cannot take on new clients at all at that time of year let alone drop everything to list items for a new client.

I hate to have to turn people and their items away, which is why I always stress to my clients both established and prospective that if you have anything you want me to sell for the holiday season, you need to get it to me in the summer. Even with this warning, I’ve had longtime clients get annoyed with me because I couldn’t list their holiday related item when there was still a whole week until Christmas! They’re always exceptions to the rule, a single easy to list items for long-term client, for example. But by and large the only way I’ll take holiday items after September is with the disclaimer that they probably will not be listed before Christmas.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t contact a Trading Assistant if you have holiday related items to sell. Your local TA may have a lesser workload or your items may be simple enough to list that the TA can easily squeeze them into their schedule. But understand before you call that most TA’s consider November, December, and often even October far too late to sell holiday items or to take on new clients. If you understand this before you place your call or e-mail, it will save a lot of frustration on both ends of the conversation.

Besides, even if it is too late to get the items listed by Christmas, most holiday items sell just as well in January. 🙂